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Fault Divorce & No-Fault Divorce  

Fault and No-Fault Divorce

THIS ARTICLE WILL HELP YOU TO BETTER UNDERSTAND A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAULT DIVORCE AND NO-FAULT DIVORCE

 
 
 

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. Only a court of law can terminate a marriage. In a divorce, a court declares the marriage contract broken.

The two basic types of divorce are "Fault" divorce (divorce for a specific reason, referred to as the "grounds" for the divorce) and "No-fault" divorce (the spouse suing for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong or was at fault).

Some states allow a spouse to select either a no fault divorce or a fault divorce.

When dividing property and awarding support, and even in deciding custody matters, some states will consider the matter of fault while others wont. For example, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina disallow an award of alimony to a spouse who has committed marital misconduct. Also, laws in Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Virginia allow the court to include marital misconduct in their determination of equitable distribution of the marital property. In West Virginia and Louisiana, a spouse who commits adultery is not eligible for alimony.

No Fault divorce

In a no-fault divorce action, spouses can terminate a marriage at will. The spouse suing for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. In a no-fault divorce, it is irrelevant who did what to whom that caused the marriage to break down. The only important matter is that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation. One spouse must simply state a reason recognized by the state and, in some states, the couple must also live apart for a period of time.

The most common grounds for no-fault divorce are separation (you no longer live together); irreconcilable differences (you are no longer compatible because you have very different goals, needs and desires for your life); irretrievable breakdown (your marriage has deteriorated beyond the point of repair).

In several states, the couple must live apart for a period of months or even years in order to obtain a no fault divorce.

Fault divorce

A fault divorce is only granted if one of the spouses is legally at fault. Today about two-thirds of states still offer some form of fault divorce when marital misconduct has been proved.

In a fault divorce the petitioner (the person asking for the divorce) must prove that an act by his or her spouse constitutes marital misconduct and provides a legal reason for a divorce.

Usual grounds for a fault divorce are adultery, imprisonment, a separation agreement, and cruel and inhuman treatment (the physical and mental well-being of plaintiff is endangered, making it unsafe or improper for plaintiff and defendant to continue living with defendant); Another common ground is abandonment (the defendant has abandoned the plaintiff for a period of time prior to starting the divorce action and continuing to the present), which includes physical (spouse left marital home with no intention of returning, without any good reason to do so and without other spouse's consent), constructive (one spouse refuses to engage in sexual relations without consent, cause or justification), and continuous lockout.

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